1. Dash is making his way around the Division. The kids are having a BLAST! Our next few lessons in the STEAM lab will center around Dash. I know that when the students are with me, you are in planning or PLCs. I know how much we all need our break from the students so that we can return to them fresh and ready to rock our rolls as educators. However, I am asking that you plan to return to the lab about 5 minutes early in the next few weeks. I don't want you to pick your students up early; no, I want you to see how engaged your students are when using this tool. And please think about asking me to teach a special lesson using Dash. There is a bank of cross curricular lessons we can choose from or we can create something brand new!
2. Years ago I use to be a Master Teacher for the NTTI which was sponsored by a consortium between PBS and the VDOE. The General Assembly's budget cuts forced us to disband the consortium and the NTTI program. However, I still turn to PBS sites for some great online learning experiences. PBS has a wide variety of educational resources but, when it comes to engineering, I have my top 2 favorite sites! First, I love the Building Big resource. It is dedicated to the physics and science around building structures. Design Squad is another great resource. It is filled with experiments and projects to try and fun videos to watch! I really love the interactive Design Process that helps students understand what happens at each point, and provides tips to help them build their engineering skills.
3. This week's STEAM activity is about making slime. The process of following a recipe not only fits in with the discussion of algorithms but also can be integrated into reading, math, and science. You can talk about sequences, fractions, and measurement! Pull in the idea of a hypothesis! Kids love slime and here is a site with recipes that you can tailor for any time of the year.
4. A couple of years ago ACPS started using Thinking Maps all across the Division. Gail Moore created templates for each of the maps. This has been sent out before but with all the new teachers, I felt it was worth sending out again. To get to all the Thinking Maps, click on the circle map to open a Google folder containing all of them.
5. Friday at the Movies - Hey! I have a Breakout Box. I don't have $100 but we could all pitch in together and go to Merredith's. Who's in?
1. This week's cool site
It's not often that I come across a site I haven't seen before but I did stumble across a new one for me. Forgive me if I am recommending a site you already know about but I found this one cute! There are some good anchor activities here. Check out Toy Theater!
2. STEAM idea for the week
STEAM challenges don't always have to require messy materials. The purpose behind STEAM is to get students problem solving. You can use a simple site like Physics Games!
3. This week's resource
Would you like to create your own app for your classroom? Shake Up Learning has a great idea for how to use Google Slides to accomplish this. She even provides the template and will walk you through how to use it. Note: Although this isn't difficult, there are a lot of steps involved. If you are interested, please let me know if you need my help.
4. Google Tip
You really need to check out Google's Chrome Web Store! Here are several digital math apps that you may appreciate. Remember, all you need to do is send Joe an email and ask him to add these to your students' Chromebooks.
5. Friday at the Movies - September is gone. We should say goodbye by sending it off to Earth, Wind, and Fire's September as played by the Floppotron!
1. No that we have chromebooks, have you ever considered playing a QR code game? The first thing you need to do is head over the the Chrome Web Store and choose a QR Code Generator. There are plenty to choose from! Send an email to Joe Goldman with the name of the extension and ask that he add it to the grade level's Chromebooks. The browse through the QR Code tasks on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you find something that you like, you are welcome to purchase it but what I like to do is look through what others have and then create my own task cards. This way you can be assured that it aligns with our SOLs. Once you have your task or activity, you can use the QR Code extension and the Chromebook's built in camera to run the activity.
2. I found this wonderful graphic organizer research project online. I altered it to fit in with the first of the year's region unit. Fourth grade teachers can use it to research VA's regions while Fifth grade can research US regions. Click on the image and then Make A Copy to get your own copy.
3. Here are five quick tips for Google:
4. I recently had a conversation with a teacher who asked me what STEAM stood for. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. It consists of a challenge that integrates one or more of the components and can be used in any curriculum. Here is a really cool STEAM project that can be used as a spelling center. Provide the students with a lego mat and two colors of lego bricks. Also make sure that there is a copy of the binary alphabet close by. With the binary code letters are made using only the digits 1 & 0. Encourage the students to "build their words" using the binary code. When you are looking at letters for as long as it will take to find the correct bricks, you are bound to remember the words! This idea came from a book called Code with Lego; however, I think you could do the same thing if you had two different colors of unifix cubes or two colors of unit blocks.
5. Friday at the Movies - Eddie B, what can I say? He says things I WISH I could say. LOL!!
1. Check out this site they have tagged as Teachers Give Teachers! It is full of hyperdocs. A child's first assertion of independence comes early on around the age of 2 or 3 with a declaration of "I can do it myself!" Sometime after they enter school we inadvertently start teaching them to wait for us to tell them what to do, how to do, when, and why to do. A hyper doc is a carefully crafted lesson play which puts the ownership of learning back into the students' hands by including links to sites that provide information about what they are learning as well as links to means of documenting what they have learned. Browse through this site and if you would like help in creating a hyperdoc, please le tme know.
2. Robots, robots, everywhere! We now have enough Bee-Bots, Spheros, Ozobots, MBots, Colby Jacks, and Dash robots for whole class learning tasks. I use to go to conferences where these tools were showcased and lament the fact that our students didn't have an opportunity to use these tools. Over the years we have been able to collect enough of each of these robots for an entire class to take part in a robotic learning activity. Please! Schedule a time to meet with me so we can plan an engaging learning experience with your students!
3. This is a favorite activity from last year. I used this with a couple of classes and students loved it! To get your own Time Cover file, please click on the image. Then click: Make a Copy.
4. STEAM idea of the week
Why not schedule a breakout session? What is a breakout? Breakout is a challenge where students solve puzzles based on content. The solved puzzles provide clues that will open a lock. The prize is the journey. I use to think I had to put something in the box that the students would find once they solved all the clues and opened the box. Nope! I discovered that just the process of figuring out the clue and being able to get into the box was reward enough for most students. I have created or hosted breakouts for grades 1-5. Let's get together and plan one for your class!
5. Friday at the Movies - Long but good.
1. Number one on my list this week is a really good article that was sent to ITRTs by Jean Weller, our "boss" on the state level. Adults complain often that the computer is making books obsolete and that it is not teaching students to read. But what is the truth? Check out this article on the matter.
2. STEAM Idea for the Week -Flexagon
This would be a wonderful morning "art-tivity" or a great one to use with math. Have your students make Flexagons. Flexagons, originally created in 1939, are flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front. Here is a site that explains how to make one and provides a template for you to print out for use. They were originally created by Princeton graduate student Arthur Stone and became a huge fad when Martin Gardner published them in The Scientific American years later.
3. I posted this last year but I love this idea so I felt it was worth reposting. I loved it when the teacher put a smilie face or a sticker on my paper. Here is the article which explains how to do this digitally. You can create stickers and "put a sticker" on your student's Google Doc. Please let me know if you need help.
4. This week's resource was created by Gail Moore. She called it a Homework menu but this could be adapted to use with any content and subject. To get your own copy, please click on the image and then go to FILE->MAKE A COPY.
5. Friday at the Movies-This is Dash, our new friend who is on his way.
Happy Friday and (yay!) it's also PAYDAY! I don't know about you but August has felt long!
1. Read Write Think is an old site but from time to time it's nice to pull these old sites out, dust them off and put them out for use. This site is is one of my favorites! It can be utilized on a desktop or they have apps like Alphabet Organizer, Trading Cards, and Timeline which will work on tablets as well.
2. STEM/ STEAM Bins
Would you like to give your students something that will engage their critical thinking and creativity during those times when you need an anchor activity or even during those inside recess days? You may want to start putting together some STEM/STEAM Bins. I have some I can show you in each of my schools. STEM Bins are plastic school boxes filled with an engineering manipulative of your choice, such as Legos, pattern blocks, base ten blocks, unifix cubes, toothpicks and playdough, or popsicle sticks with velcro on the ends. On of the students' favorite challenges is the red dixie cup challenge. I found the cutest little red cups at Food Lion! Ok, I know they are supposed to be disposable shot glasses but the kids don't know that. One student saw them and ask me how I shrunk the cups. LOL!! The idea behind STEAM Bins is that the students take a box along with a picture you give them. You can have several pictures on a plastic key ring. Make the pictures simple. Hint: Look through old teaching materials and grab some of those CVC or alphabet pictures to use. The students have to use the materials in the box to build the picture.
3. Hyperdoc ideas for the Daily 5
Here is a resource for teachers to use with Daily 5 and Chromebooks. This was shared with me by a fellow ITRT. It has some great ideas for taking your daily 5 into the Tech Zone. Click the image to open the hyperdoc.
4. Last year Google for Education introduced, “Tuesday Tips,” a weekly spotlight on Google for Education tools. Google is sharing tips to help educations with all of your favorite Google Tools. These tips are released every Tuesday, and they come in the form of a published Google Slide Deck. They have released tips for Google Expeditions, Google Forms, and Google Classroom. To check it out, click on the image.
5. Friday at the Movies - In honor of Payday
Welcome back! I am so excited to start this year. We have survived a full week. Congratulations to us!! This is my first 5 on Friday blog. It may be light!
1. Elementary Teacher Google Plus Page
Last year Gail and I got permission to start a Google+ page called ACPS Elementary Teachers. When we find links or create resources we will be posting them to this page. We are hoping you join and post as well. I will be coming door to door next week to show you how to sign up or you can click the following link. https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106544968765854857824
Please note that this can only be viewed by those that have an Amherst email address. Once you join, you can see it if you are signed in using your work address.
2. STEAM idea: Paper Building Blocks
This year I plan to include a weekly STEAM idea that you can do in your classroom without losing instructional time. This week is all about paper building blocks. The original idea came from a website called 50+ Genius STEM Ideas.
Materials Needed: colored cardstock, scissors, tape/glue, scissors or paper cutter, ruler
Step 1: Cut strips from the cardstock. It works best if your strips are 1 inch wide and 3- 6 inches long. How many? I would start with at least 3-5 per student. Older students may be able to cut their own.
Step 2: Fold the strip into thirds or as I like to tell the students, burrito style.
Step 3: Unfold the strip and tape it so that it makes a triangle.
Step 4: Put these strips along with some glue or tape in a center and invite your students to use these to create structures or sculptures. You can add more strips when needed if you run low.
3. Google Resource
Here is a resource you can use to introduce your students to Google Apps. This one is done in Google Slides. Click on the image to get your copy. This idea can be altered to gather information on content subjects as well. Let me know if you would like me to show you how to create an assignment like this.
Google Tip: Email Signatures
I have gotten several emails already asking me how to create or edit an email signature in G-Mail. I admit this is one of those skills that is easy to forget since you don't do it often. Fortunately, G-Mail's help center has step by step directions. If you still need help please send me an email to schedule a time for the next day I am in your building.
5. Friday at the Movies- Love Gerry Brooks!
1. This will be my last Five on Friday blog on the year. Next week is Spring Break. The week following Spring Break I will be attending a conference on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then we only have two more weeks after that in April. Last year I waited until the end of April but this year I am giving myself permission to do so earlier. Gail and I will still be sharing resources through the Google+ Community. If you have not joined yer, please do so! If you have joined, feel free to share resources and links yourself to the community. If you have been meaning to join the community but forgot how, just click here.
2. I just discovered Knoword! This is a free site that you can log in with your Google credentials and create your own packs using your own vocabulary words. Can you solve my pack on the engineering design process? You can connect your Google Classroom account to Knoword and assign packs to students as course work. Pretty cool, right?
3. This Google slide task was shared by ITRT, Obe Hosteller. This is an excellent addition to your geometry unit or you could have students create a robot and then write descriptive paragraphs about their bot. To use this template, click on the image on the left. When it open, it will ask you to make a copy.
4. This is a site that Gail shared in the Google+ Community that I felt would be helpful to everyone as they are reviewing and preparing for the test season.
5. Friday at the Movies- One of my favorite groups. Absolutely no instruments. Every sound is done by a member of the group. That's engineering!
1. I was commenting last week that I am turning to Facebook more and more for my own professional development. When I was at the Google Summit with the ITRTs, one of the presenters told us about a Facebook group where folks make and share hyperdoc resources. Here is a resource I found on that page. Dozens of hyperdocs for every grade and subject area all organized in a LiveBinder. Way cool! Let me know if you need help in making these your own. What is a hyperdoc? A hyperdoc is an instructional means of organizing the assignments for your unit of study so that your students can work through them. Check it out.
2. Check out WatchKnowLearn. This is a directory of over 50,000 free educational video links that are organized by subject matter. Not only do you have access to videos in their collection but you can also upload your own videos on a subject matter.
3. Here is a SUPER tip I learned about Google Classroom! Have you ever noticed the 3 dots in the top right corner of your posted Google assignment in Classroom?
If you click on those three dots you will see an option to copy link. This will copy the link for that post only!! Why would you ever need to do this? You could post the link on your website for homework and when the students log in, they will be taken to that post directly. Or you could post the link to that post in your ABOUT section so that students would have resources from that post easily accessible. How about using Google Forms for an assessment and then posting the link to an assignment they can work on after the assessment is completed. You could email parents the link so that they could help the student complete a missing assignment. Maybe you could link it on a hyperdoc.
4. We have all heard about how next year we will be expected to pair reading: fiction and non-fiction. Here is a great Chrome extension that removes clutter and ads from a web page so that you can post it into your Google Classroom for students to access.
5. Friday At the Movies - Sketchnoting - Have you heard about these? Research says that by combining doodles with information, our minds remember the information much easier. Learn even more here.
1. Here is a tip I picked up at the Google Summit this weekend. Have you ever had a Google document that you wanted displayed full screen for students?
2. I absolutely LOVE Flipgrid and if I were a classroom teacher with a set of Chromebooks, this is a site that I would be using all the time! With Flipgrid, the teacher creates an assignment or "grid" and students respond to a prompt. Try it! Here is a grid that I would love you to respond to. Why did you decide to become an educator? The free account allows you to create one grid. For $65 a year, you can create unlimited grids. I am seriously thinking about upgrading. Why not combine with a couple of teachers in your grade level and split the cost of the account? Even at $65 it isn't a bad deal.
3. Here is a resource I got from the Summit. This is a great project idea! Have the students create a "playlist" for learning. In this project, the student researches a topic and then creates a hyperdoc to teach classmates about their topic. I love this idea!!! I would be willing to work with you to do this in your classroom. Click the image and then go to File-Make A Copy to have an editable version you can post in your Google Classroom. This takes flipping a classroom to a whole new level. Make your students the teachers!
4. I sent this file out last weekend but wanted to post this here as well. This file is full of templates you can use to create TEI questions using Google Slides. To get to the templates, click the image and then File->Make A Copy.
5. Friday at the Movies - Seagulls (Stop it Now)
This was shared with us at the conference. Just wanted to make you smile!
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler